Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Signs

Having survived today, full of many wonderful, healthy surprises, I'm sitting here trying to calm down.  :::Breathe, in and out.  Deeeeep, breaths:::
Okay, I feel better now.
Problem is, I can't seem to concentrate right now.  My mind is a flurry of activity (hope I can sleep tonight).  At any rate I am sitting here with a huge smile on my face, and lovin' it.
A little while ago I was chatting with my friend, Robin.  And the topic of faith and agnostic's came up.  One of her journal entries today is about signs...you know, the ones that to one person may be just a advertisement, but to another become so much more.  She asked me if I understood what she meant.  And I told her I do, and I shared a little story with her.  I was going to put a joke I received today in here about children, but that can wait for another day.  This is more important.
I was raised in a baptist home, and attended Sunday School and church with my family each and every Sunday throughout my childhood.  I always believed in God, and angels, after all I was born in the City of Angels.  As a very small child I had experiences, profound experiences, that showed me the good and bad in people.  I knew the pendulum of human nature could swing either way.  Yet, I always looked for the good, because I believed it was there.  And I always believed there was a God.  But in 1978, I abandoned my faith in him, and turned my back to everything I had held true all my life.  All because he didn't answer one, simple prayer.  If you read any of my prior posts, you know I lost my mother, and it was a prayer for her life that caused the 180 degree in my beliefs.
Then two events, nothing short of a miracle, happened to me.  This entry is about the second one.  The first is amazing, but it is the second event that means the most to me.  Because it involves music.
It's December 21, 1985.  I am living in Sacramento, California, and have just walked away from a very unhealthy relationship.  Emotionally, I was a mess...a pathetic mess.  And I wanted to go home.  Home, back to Idaho, where I knew people who loved me were waiting for my return.  So, I quit my job, packed everything I owned in my car and hit the road.  Two of my tires had patches on them, and the car was so heavy that the wheels were almost touching the ground.  I filled the tires with air, and started praying I would make the 900+ mile journey without any problems.
It's now a little past midnight and I've passed the Oregon state line on I-5.  Just outside of Grant's Pass, I run into a total white out.  The wind is blowing, visability is zero...I can't see the edge of the road, any of the white lines, the mountains, or even the end of the car hood.  I slow my speed down to about 15 miles per hour, and continue to crawl up along the highway.  There is no traffic in either direction, it's just me on that lonely mountain road.  And I'm getting scared.  My hands are clamped on the wheel so tight my knuckles are white and my fingers hurt.  The entire trip I have a cassette by a very popular English band playing, over and over, on the stereo.  The music keeps me going.  But my mind is racing...what if one of the tires blows?  What if I get stuck?  What if I hit ice, and slide off the road?  Fear has me so engulfed in my worries I don't even see the semi-truck coming up behind me, until he flies by, blowing a whirlwind of snow behind him, as he narrowly misses me.  I need to pull over and take a break, but I can't tell where the edge of the road stops, so I continue driving.
And I start praying, "Please God, give me a sign that everything will be all right.  Please."  Moments later I pushed the cassette out of the player, and search through the radio stations to get a road report.  This storm has got to end sometime.  Finding none, I leave the radio on a Top 40 station.  A song is just finishing, then there is a commercial break.  And then I hear the sounds of "Kyrie" by Mr. Mister begin to play.  Right then, I knew he had heard me, and answered my prayer.  Coincidence?  I think not.  Confirmation?  Yes, absolutely.  I started to sing along, my grip on the wheel relaxed, and so did I.  The song ended, and within a very short time, the snow storm stopped.  By the time I hit Portland I was flying along at 70 miles an hour; I was almost home.
Around noon, I pulled in front of my Dad's house in Lewiston, tired and relieved.  I walked into the house and just flopped on a bed in the spare bedroom.  I drove all night, all alone, and I made it without a single problem (but, I did have to stick my head out the window a couple of times to keep awake...it is a looooooong drive). 
Dad woke me up when he got home later that afternoon.  And he told me another story, involving a car.  When I decided to move to Sacramento in September 1981, Dad didn't want me to go, and tried to talk me out of it, several times.  But, I can be very stubborn (it's the Taurus in me).  Dad drove me to the airport in his 1936 Plymouth sedan, and saw me off on the plane.  As he pulled out of the airport parking lot, the engine died.  And it refused to start.  He knows a lot about engines, and he checked under the hood, but couldn't find anything wrong.  So, he tried the ignition, several times.  Nothing.  He had to call a tow truck to get it back home.  The next day, he went out to work on the car, but before he did anything, he wanted to try the engine one more time.  He put the key in the ignition, and the engine turned over.  He shut it off.  He tried it two more times, and each time the engine roared to life.  And that's when he knew, regardless of how he felt about my leaving, that I was supposed to go on that journey to California.
Now, each time I hear "Kyrie" on the radio, I think about my journey that dark night, on that mountain road.  I don't hear it very often these days, but when I do, I stop whatever I'm doing, and sit, and just listen.
Kyrie - Mr. Mister

The wind blows hard against this mountainside
Across the sea into my soul
It reaches into where I cannot hide
Setting my feet upon the road

My heart is old it holds my memories
My body burns a gemlike flame
Somewhere between the soul and soft machine
Is where I find myself again

Kyrie Eleison
Down the road that I must travel
Kyrie Eleison
Through the darkness of the night
Kyrie Eleison
Where I'm going will you follow
Kyrie Eleison
On a highway in the light

When I was young I thought of growing old
Of what my life would mean to me
Would I have followed down my chosen road
Or only wished what I could be

1 comment:

robinngabster said...

I love this story and I am glad we were able to share one with each other!